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Bond: The Living Daylights

11.11.2008

After the A VIEW TO A KILL debacle, it was obvious that Roger Moore was a little long in the tooth to continue playing Bond. Cubby Broccoli had to find himself a new actor to fill Moore’s shoes, and he settled on TV actor Pierce Brosnan, who had built up a solid fan base playing "Remington Steele." At the last second, the producers of that show opted for another season and refused to release Brosnan from his contract.

Broccoli eventually settled on Shakespearian actor Timothy Dalton, and the script for the new film was tailored to suit Dalton, and his darker approach to the character. But the question remained- how would audiences react to this new dark direction?

THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS

PLOT: When a recently defected KGB agent is kidnapped, Bond is called in to investigate, leading him to a plot involving the Russian war in Afghanistan, and a multi-billion dollar opium smuggling operation.

REVIEW: Timothy Dalton gets a bad wrap these days. While everyone loves Daniel Craig, and his new, dark Bond, nobody gives Dalton any credit for taking the same approach twenty years before Craig ever slipped on his tux.

To be sure, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS is nowhere near as dark as Dalton’s next film, LICENSE TO KILL, but it’s still a lot grittier than any Moore outing. It had a topical plot involving glasnost, the war on drugs, and the Russian war in Afghanistan. Nowadays, the film doesn’t get a lot of play for similar reasons to RAMBO III- as involves Bond teaming up the mujahideen, which eventually gave way to a radical splinter group- the Taliban, and Osama Bin Laden. Still, one really needs to consider the era this film was made in.

It’s a real shame that THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS has been more or less forgotten, as it’s actually a rock solid Bond flick- albeit a more earthbound Bond than anyone had seen in a while. There’s a lot to recommend here- with tons of great actions scenes (including a few great hand to hand fights), a tight pace, a more involving than usual plot, and a surprisingly nice romance between Bond and his leading lady. It’s a real Bond sleeper as far as I’m concerned, and people should give the DVD a spin.

BOND

Dalton did a rock solid job in his first Bond outing. Being a Welshman, Dalton brings a lot of gravitas to the role, and I enjoyed his grittier, but still suave, take on Bond.

VILLAIN

While I like this film, the stable of villains are incredibly weak. While Jeroen Krabbé as Koskov is probably the main villain, he’s not the least bit threatening. Joe Don Baker, as the arms dealing Brad Whitaker has far too little screen time to be considered a primary villain, leaving us with Andreas Wisniewski as Necros- the KGB assassin stalking Bond throughout. Necros is really more of a henchman than true villain, but he has a few wicked fight scenes- although it’s painfully obvious that he was looped for the role, and looks a little too much like a Euro male model (which he actually was) to be considered a threat for Bond.

BOND GIRL

Maryam d’Abo as Kara Milovy, actually has one of the better Bond roles in awhile. She gets a lot of screen time, and while I don’t find her one of the hotter Bond girls, she’s likable and endearing.

BOND MUSIC: John Barry is back- providing a solid Bond score, although it’s a little too synth heavy at times (this WAS the eighties after all). Norwegian one-hit wonders A-Ha are on board for the theme song. Supposedly Barry had such a lousy time working with them; he decided to retire from the series. I think I speak for all Bond fans when I say- F**k A-Ha!

BODY COUNT: Only four- but there’s still a ton of action in this film, and huge RAMBO style machine gun battles towards the end.

NUMBER OF WOMEN BOND SLEEPS WITH: THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS went into production just as AIDS was starting to make the news, so an effort was made to tone down Bond’s sexcapades, leading him to only bedding one woman in this outing- ALTHOUGH he also hooks up with a woman on a yacht near the beginning that he may or may not have nailed.

BEST ONE- LINER: Bond fights an enemy while hanging off a plane’s cargo net. He eventually gains the upper hand, and the villain is left hanging on to Bond’s boot for dear life. Bond then proceeds to slowly cut the shoelaces, sending the villain to his death. When he returns to the cockpit, Kara asks “what happened”, to which Bond replies “he got the boot”.

BEST DOUBLE ENTENDRE: Linda is a bored yacht owner looking for some excitement.
Linda: [into phone] It's all so boring here, Margo - there's nothing but playboys and tennis pros.
[sighs] Linda: If only I could find a real man.
[Bond, having just fought a KGB assassin in a burning truck in mid-air, parachutes onto the yacht]
Bond: I need to use your phone.
[takes it and says into it] Bond: She'll call you back.
Linda: You are who?
Bond: Bond, James Bond.
[into phone] Bond: Exercise Control, 007 here. I'll report in an hour.
Linda: [offering drink] Won't you join me?
Bond: [into phone] Better make that two.

BEST GADGET: : Bond has a nifty little keychain that releases stun gas when you whistle into it.

RECEPTION: While everyone assumes both Dalton movies failed at the box office, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS was actually a modest hit, pulling in $50 million in the U.S, and $140 Million worldwide, and a $30 Million budget.

GRADE: 8/10- a very solid Bond film that deserves another look.

Previous reviews: DR. NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE , GOLDFINGER, THUNDERBALL, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER , LIVE AND LET DIE, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, MOONRAKER, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, OCTOPUSSY, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, A VIEW TO A KILL

Source: JoBlo.com

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